Young's has confirmed it is in discussions regarding a possible sale of its tenanted estate, however said there was no certainty that a sale would take place.
The pub group made the announcement in its preliminary results for the year ended 29 March 2021 following a report by Sky News yesterday that said Young's had appointed property agent Savills to offload about 50 tenanted pubs.
In its results, Young's reported revenue of £90.6m, down from £311.6m the prior year, as well as pre-tax losses of £45.2m.
Despite this, the company expressed optimism about the potential for a strong recovery this summer with April starting "better than planned" and future bookings "looking strong". It expected business could return to pre-Covid levels of trade and margins by the end of June – assuming the roadmap, particularly the date of 21 June when all restrictions are due to be dropped, is not delayed.
Young's secured additional financing of £88.4m gross proceeds through an equity issue and £20m through a new bank facility this year and ended the year with debt of £170.1m, headroom of £114.9m and a portfolio of 273 pubs.
Chief executive Patrick Dardis said: "We were able to navigate our way through the pandemic, despite the last financial year being one of the most challenging in our 189-year history. I am extremely proud of the way our teams have reacted to the extraordinary challenges that we have faced. The absolute professionalism of our pub managers and their teams has enhanced our reputation as a highly responsible pub operator and underlined the exceptional quality of the Young's business.
"Despite the many lockdowns and disruption to our business, the financing decisions taken during the summer allowed us to continue to make significant investments in our pubs, with some truly transformational projects. We expect to see excellent growth from that investment this year and beyond."